Peter Banks, original Yes guitarist, dies at age 65

By Daniel Levine,

Peter Banks, the first guitarist for the progressive-rock band Yes, has died at age 65.

The guitarist’s web page announced his death on Tuesday. He died on Thursday at his London home due to heart failure. The site notes that his body was found after he didn’t show up for a scheduled recording session.

Rolling Stone reports that Banks and bassist Chris Squire helped start Yes in 1968 and played on the group’s first two albums - Yes (1969) and Time and a Word (1970). However, he left before the second album’s release because of arguments and went on to form Flash.

He played on three albums with Flash in the early 1970s before joining Empire for three albums. He also recorded a solo album in 1973 titled Two Sides of Peter Banks. He returned for three more solo albums in the 1990s.

At the time of his death, he was working on the live collection, Flash - In Person.

Yes is currently touring the U.S., performing three albums in their entirety. They issued a statement on Banks’ site, which reads, “We are deeply saddened to learn about the passing of fellow bandmate and founding Yes member, Peter Banks. He was a huge piece of the fabric that made Yes what it is, and our thoughts, sincere condolences, and prayers are with him and his family. Peter, we shall miss you greatly.”

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